Miguel Garcia, Riverside County deputy, has entered the election for sheriff. Photo from website

Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff’s re-election effort is encountering strong opposition from several within his department.

The first opposition was Lt. Chad Bianco’s announcement of his intent to re challenge Sniff. He had been easily beaten in the 2014 race; but that result did not deter him from entering the race this year.

The 2014 election has both prepared and steeled him for this campaign. He and his wife managed the 2014 attempt, which was his first entry in politics. This year, he has hired a consultant and campaign manager. And he is not running without internal support from the Sheriff’s Department.

The Riverside Sheriff’s Association continues to throw its weight behind Bianco. In February, he reported the association had given his campaign another $300,000. In January, he had reported the association had already donated $252,000 to his campaign. Then on March 13, he reported another contribution of nearly $20,000.

With two months until the June 5 primary, the association has already contributed nearly $575,000 to Bianco’s effort. This does not include contributions from individuals within the department, such as Sgt. Roger Harris’ contribution of $2,500 on March 14.

But Bianco does not have the complete support of his peers. In late March, Deputy Miguel Garcia filed papers to run for sheriff, too.

He is a deputy for the Sheriff’s Department and assigned to patrol in the city of Moreno Valley. He joined the department in 2007 and lives in Beaumont.

On his website, Garcia states several reasons for his entry into the race. “Due to the lack of supportive leadership, budgeting constraints and minimal staffing, morale has hit an all-time low. This infiltrates onto the citizens in our county. The county has been built on a solid foundation but lacks efficiency and modern ways of practicing law enforcement,” he wrote.

As of April 1, Garcia has not filed any campaign finance reports.

Besides the two Sheriff’s Department officers challenging Sniff, David Brown, former police chief for Hemet, is the fourth candidate. If none of the four surpasses 50 percent of the June 5 vote, the two candidates with the most votes will vie for the sheriff’s seat in the November election.

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